Gov. Henry McMaster on Monday signed into law a measure which makes it easier for a foster child to receive a driver’s license.
The legislation approved by both the House and Senate in combined 123-0 votes earlier this year would allow a foster parent to sign as the legal guardian if that child is in DSS custody. Current law only allows a parent or legal guardian to give their consent, but does not address children who are in state custody or foster care who have not been formally adopted.
“It used to be that there were only a limited number of people who could vouch for or verify the young person for them to get a driver’s license,” the governor said before signing the legislation at the Governor’s Mansion on Monday.
The bill’s lead sponsor State Sen. Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington, said a teen in her county ran into the problem last year. “That young man was trying to get his driver’s license and he couldn’t. No one could sign for him,” she told South Carolina Radio Network in March. “It’s a shame when a child wants to get a license and you have someone that’s willing to sign for them and take on that responsibility. That’s one more time that they feel they’re different from everybody else.”
The bill would still allow the parent of the foster teen to sign, but also adds foster parents, pre-adoptive parents, or the responsible adult at a group home or child-caring facility where the teen lives.